I am really lucky to have experienced both sides of the interview equation before I was 25. I worked in a management level position in a museum before I went back to do my Master’s in Art History a few years a go. This role saw me looking after the front of house staff at the museum, and with my Director I would read C Vs and interview candidates when we had a casual or full time role going. This experience gave me a good understanding of how job interviews work and how they should ideally go from from the point of view of the interviewer. This knowledge has been really useful for me when I have interviewed for other jobs and I think it might be helpful for you too. So here are my top tips so you nail your next job interview.
- Always do your research
If you are a kick ass prospective employee you will have done some research on the company/organisation you are applying to work for back when you you tailoring your cover letter and you CV to suit the role you are applying for. This research will also be key for your job interview and it should give you are a good insight into the company culture. No time spent researching is wasted. The more you do the more confident you will feel going into the interview, as you will have a really good basis of knowledge to help showcase your skills and knowledge in a way that suits the company.
- Dress for the occasion
Most of this stuff isn’t rocket science but so many people seem to forget this one. This is a job interview and you are trying to present the best version of yourself so dress like a #boss. But keep in mind the research you have done about the company/organisation and its culture. If you are applying for a job at a museum for example you wouldn’t want to show up in say a full suit, a museum isn’t an accounting firm. Business casual is more the look you would want to go for. A good way to judge what you should wear is to think would I rock this outfit at work if I got this job – if the answer is yes then its probably a goer. Don’t show up to a job interview in jeans and t-shirt. You want to show that you take the process seriously. To give you an idea, I wore a faux-vintage black and green tea dress, with tights and ankle boots to the interview for the job I currently have at an art gallery.
- Remember the people interviewing you want you to be awesome
This would probably be my most important tip for you and this thought always makes me feel less nervous in job interviews (its basically my interview mantra). The people interviewing you aren’t hoping you will fail, they want you to do really well because they are on the look out for a great candidate, and they are hoping you are it. So while an interview is naturally a pretty intimidating situation try and remember everyone is rooting for you! When I was interviewing people for roles at the museum I wanted nothing more than for them to do a great job. When an interview is going badly its just as uncomfortable for the interviewer I promise.
- Its okay to think about your answers
Its perfectly fine to take some time when answering questions during the interview. Its probably wiser than just saying the first thing that pops into your head! For example if you were asked “Why do you want to work here?”, take some time to think back to your pre-interview research and come up with an answer that describes how you working at this company/organisation would be beneficial to both them and you. #Hottip: never say “I just think it would look good on my CV.”
- Have some great questions up your sleeve
At the end of the interview its most likely that you are going to be asked if you have any questions to ask the interviewers. Its good to have a few questions prepared in case this does happen and try to make them specific to the role (see all that research you did before the interview is totally going to come in handy). But don’t panic if the questions you were going to ask get answered during the natural progression of the interview. And if you want to ask a question earlier on in the interview don’t be afraid to do so. Some of the best interviews feel like conversations
Good Luck! And remember if all else fails just think what would Leslie Knope do!